How Do You Value Money?

Written by Karen Bryan

Recent research on the Value of Money by Mecca Bingo has revealed some interesting variations in attitudes between the generations.

According the survey results, 91% of interviewees would pick money up off the ground. However, it would have to be at least a £2 coin for 18-24 years olds to bother bending down. This compares to 91% of those aged 55+ who say that they would pick up any amount of money. I’m in that age group, but I wouldn’t pick up anything less than 20p.

Different attitudes also influence the decision to pick up money; some based on old sayings. 56% of interviewees justified picking up money as “if you look after the pennies, the pounds look after themselves”. I’m not sure about that adage. Sometimes you might concentrate on making a lot of small savings, when putting that effort into one big money saving strategy could save you a lot more.

“Find a penny, pick it up, then all day you’ll have good luck” was the spur for 42% of interviewees to pick up money. 31% were too embarrassed, and 18% in too much of a hurry to pick up money.

With regard to carrying cash, half of those aged 55+ carry between £20 – £40 with them when they go out. This contrasts with younger interviewees aged 18-24, where 38% carry less than £10, with 5% carrying no cash with them. Perhaps they are relying on using cards, or PayM (which enables you to pay using your mobile phone) to pay for purchases.

I carry around £30 with me, including some pound coins for tips in restaurants. I always carry at least two payment cards from different financial institutions, in case there are any IT problems. I also ensure that at least one of these is a debit card, in case there is an additional charge to pay by credit card.

Evidently 5% of young people throw coins in the bin. Across all age groups, 58% store their small change in a penny jar. I keep coins of 5p and under in a plastic bag, which I take to the coin counter machine in our local supermarket every few months.

Finally, interviewees were asked if they if they knew how much money they had in their bank account. In the 55+ age group, 92% knew exactly how much was in their bank account. This falls to 78% for those aged under 25. The Value of Money survey results highlight that 12% had no idea of their bank account balance.

40% of young people checked their account a few times a week, compared to 29% of those aged 55+. I suspect this may be due to a higher proportion of young people doing their banking online on laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

I don’t know precisely how much is in my bank account.  I log into my main current account a few times a week. But that’s not to check my balance, it’s to shunt money around my various accounts to maximise the interest I earn. Although I’m never sure exactly how much is in my account, I always leave at least a couple of hundred pounds as a buffer to avoid going overdrawn.